The Secret of Terror Castle is the first book in the detective book series, The Three Investigators. It was written by Robert Arthur and first published on September 12, 1964. In the novel, the Three Investigators search for an authentic haunted house for Alfred Hitchcock's new movie.
The novel was translated to German by Leonore Puschert in 1968. It is the eleventh installment in the audiobook series.
Finding a genuine haunted house for a movie set sounds like fun— and a great way to generate publicity for the Three Investigators' new detective agency. But when the boys arrive for an overnight visit at Terror Castle— home of a deceased horror-movie actor— they soon find out how the place got its name!
The introduction was written by Alfred Hitchcock, who claims to have been blackmailed into writing it. He introduces the main characters and location and gives little hints as to how to solve the main story. Lastly, he recommends the novel.
The Three InvestigatorsEdit
Jupiter Jones, Peter Crenshaw, and Bob Andrews have recently decided to found their own detective firm. They all gather at the Jones Salvage Yard, where Jupiter prints business cards for them. There, Peter tells his friends that his father has told him that famous filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock is currently looking for a haunted castle for his newest production. After Peter finishes, Jupiter spontaneously announces that they are going to convince Hitchcock to hire them for the job.
Without giving it a second thought, the trio goes to the Universal Studios in Hollywood. Their chauffeur Worthington drives them there in a golden Rolls Royce, which Jupiter previously won in a competition. Once they've arrived there, Jupiter bluffs his way past the security and the secretary to the famous director. Hitchcock initially refuses their request to take over the case because he has already hired two investigators of his own. Jupiter, who was a child actor, imitates Hitchcock as a little boy, which enrages Hitchcock. In turn for Jupiter to never imitate him again, he promises to write an introduction should a novel about them ever be published.
Finding the CastleEdit
Later, Bob, who has recently broken his right leg and is therefore exempt from all physical activities, is in the library to find a suitable castle. There, he learns about Stephan Terrill's castle, which he deems fit. Terrill, who once a famous actor in silent movies, lost his career when sound was introduced to film, exposing his embarrassing speech impediment. Terrill eventually ended up in large debt and isolated himself in his castle. He only allowed contact with his agent Jonathan Rex, who also represented him in the public. One day, Terrill's car was found wrecked and he was pronounced dead.
Morton drives Jupiter and Peter to the castle. As rubble is blocking the road, the two leave Morton's car and walk the rest of the way. As they stand in front of the castle, they are frightened by a bunny and a bat in the dark and feel as though they're hearing music coming from somewhere. When they enter the castle, they hear a voice whisper "Get Out!". Jupiter explains that the voice was probably just an echo of their own. Meanwhile, Peter believes that the portrait of a pirate on the wall just blinked but when they shine a flashlight on it, it turns out to be nothing. As similar events keep happening, discomfort turns to fear and they escape the castle and run back to their car.
Back at the Headquarters, the Three Investigators talk about the events that occurred at the castle. Jupiter notices that neither Peter nor him are able to identify the cause of their sudden outburst of fear. Just then, an anonymous call reaches the Three Investigators, telling them to stay away from the castle.
Solving the MysteryEdit
The Three Investigators decide to visit Terrill's manager, Jonathan Rex. Since the castle is in the same direction, Jupiter asks Worthington to stop by there. At the castle, Worthington points out the fresh tire tracks of another car. Shortly after, Jupiter and Peter see Skinny Norris escape the castle with a friend. When the two decide to take a closer look at the castle once again, they get stuck in a crevice after Charles Grant accidentally triggers a debris avalanche.
Jupiter and Peter eventually manage to free themselves and are then told by Worthington that Skinny and his friend, whom they had previously suspected of locking them in there, couldn't be the culprits since they'd already left the premises at the time of the incident. Afterward, the group finally drives to Mr. Rex's place.
Mr. Rex is polite and friendly to Jupiter and Peter but Jupiter notices that he lied when he said that he just did some work in the garden since things simply don't add up. In reality, he already got warned about their arrival by Grant and is now trying to keep the detectives away from the castle by telling them made-up horror stories about it.
Later that day, Uncle Titus tells the detectives about his most recent purchase: an organ that produces sounds that humans can't hear. Afterward, they meet Skinny Norris, who mockingly tells them to go solve the death of a rat.
On the way to the Headquarters, Jupiter sprains his ankle, rendering him unable to move around.
Two days later, the three investigators meet again to talk about the case. Mathilda Jones joins them to tell them that a gypsy visited the salvage yard a few days earlier to warn them about the castle. Jupiter then sends Bob and Peter to the castle in the evening, asking them to find out whether the distance to the castle plays a role in how scared you get.
At the castle, Peter and Bob systematically search through the castle and take several photographs of it. However, they eventually get lost due to the dark and start hearing an organ quietly playing. When they are about to leave the castle, they see a blue phantom in the screening room.
Three days later, the Three Investigators meet at their headquarters. Peter and Bob report back to Jupiter that their fear immediately vanished once they left the castle. When looking at the photographs the boys took, Jupiter notices that there is almost no rust or dust in the castle.
Jupiter then explains his newly thought-of marker system to the other two: each investigator is assigned a color; Jupiter is white, Peter is blue, and Bob is green.[note 1] Each member receives a piece of chalk in their color so that they can mark things with a question mark in their respective color when they are in need of help.
At night, the Three Investigators return to the castle. There, they find a secret entryway behind a mirror in the dining room. Jupiter discovers that the entryway leads behind the screening room. Suddenly, the organ in the screening room starts playing and fume starts to rise up.
am vergangenen Tag habe eine Zigeunerin (tatsächlich der verkleidete Charles Grant) die drei ??? vor dem Gespensterschloss gewarnt.
Justus erklärt Peter, er vermute, dass Stephan Terrill selbst für den Spuk verantwortlich sei und seinen Tod nur vorgetäuscht habe. Beim Versuch, das blaue Phantom anzusprechen, überwältigen Terrill und Grant, die als Araber verkleidet sind, Justus und Peter.
Im Verlies Edit Terrill und Grant geben vor, eine Schmugglerbande zu sein, fesseln Justus und Peter und sperren sie ins Verlies. Justus fällt dabei auf, dass ein geheimer Tunnel vom Schloss nach draußen führen muss.
Dem Fragezeichen auf der Spur Edit Bob und Morton machen sich zu diesem Zeitpunkt auf die Suche nach dem ersten und zweiten Detektiv. Sie entdecken den Geheimgang hinter dem Spiegel und auch den geheimen Ausgang aus dem Schloss. Als sie die Hilferufe von Justus und Peter hören, kommen sie ihnen zu Hilfe.
Als Justus erfährt, dass sich im geheimen Ausgang Sittiche befanden, kombiniert er, dass der Gang zur Vogelvoliere von Mr. Rex führen muss. Die drei Detektive und Morton folgen dem Gang zum Haus von Mr. Rex und stellen ihn zur Rede.
Interview mit einem Gespenst Edit Mr. Rex enthüllt im darauffolgenden Gespräch, dass er Stephen Terrill ist. Außerdem bestätigt er Justus' Vermutungen dazu, mit welchen Mitteln er den Besuchern Angst einjagte.
Auf gute Zusammenarbeit! Edit Hitchcock ist von der Leistung der drei ??? beeindruckt. Er hält daher das in der Einführung gegebene Versprechen. Außerdem erläutert Justus, dass Stephan Terrill plant, das Schloss als Touristenattraktion zu vermarkten und seine alten Filme zu zeigen. Schließlich deutet Hitchcock gegenüber dem Leser an, dass er den drei ??? möglicherweise einen Auftrag geben möchte.
Achtung spoiler Komm schon, Just, verrat uns die Lösung! Dieser Abschnitt enthält Informationen über den Ausgang eines Falles oder noch nicht erschienene Fälle. Achtung,Spoiler!
Tatsächlich trat Terrill selbst als Jonathan Rex auf, um im Verhandlungen eine bessere Position zu besitzen. Seinen Tod täuschte er vor. Anschließend statteten er und der Maskenbildner Charles Grant das Schloss mit verschiedenen angsteinflößenden Artefakten und Geräten aus und popularisierten den „Fluch von Stephan Terill“. Dadurch wurde das Schloss unverkäuflich.
|Jupiter Jones||Oliver Rohrbeck||Main|
|Pete Crenshaw||Jens Wawrczeck||Main|
|Bob Andrews||Andreas Fröhlich||Main|
|Stephan Terrill/Jonathan Rex||Wolf Rahtjen||Antagonist|
|Charles Grant||Horst Breiter||Antagonist|
|Alfred Hitchcock||Peter Pasetti||Supporting (Narrator)|
|Mathilda Jonas||Karin Lieneweg||Supporting|
|Skinny Norris||Andreas von der Meden||Supporting|
|Worthington||Andreas von der Meden||Supporting|
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